Electronics > RF, Microwave, Ham Radio

NI Vector Signal Transceiver

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jhenderson0107:
I assembled a NI PXIe-5663E VSA and PXIe-5673E VSG piecemeal from eBay a few years ago.  They are installed in a PXIe-1078 chassis which includes a PXIe-8370 MXI adapter to allow a 15' cabled PCI Express connection to a desktop PC with a PCIe-8371 MXI adapter.  NI labels cabled PCI Express 'MXI'.  I almost exclusively use the soft front panel (SFP) turnkey software. 

Some positives:
  Full-featured and instantaneous remote control via mouse and keyboard
  SFP user interface very similar to stand-alone instruments
  GUI much more responsive than my vintage spectrum analyzer (E4440A)
  Very compact compared to stand-alone devices. 

Some negatives:
  Low frequency range restrictions
  SFP instruments can't be controlled using VISA.
  Performance is good, but not exceptional.

I am planning to sell it.  I prefer stand-alone instruments with Visa control. 
 
 

 

Marsupilami:
Gathering that piece by piece sounds tedious. :D

I never really looked at these as proper replacement for boxed instruments. When doing measurements manually a physical UI will always beat the remote software imho. Also performance wise it's important to realize these devices are targeted for high-volume production test first and everything else second so their performance is tuned to that. The whole architecture excels at tasks where there's significant data to be moved and processed on the host PC.

All that being said 6GHz SA/SG combo for $350 makes it worth.

jhenderson0107:
I agree and wouldn't hesitate for $350.  I also have two PXIe-1073 chassis (see attachment) which are even smaller and would be well-suited to hosting this VST.  They connect via single-lane MXI adapters to a PC also.  For a virtual instrument, single-lane is fine. 

Marsupilami:

--- Quote from: jhenderson0107 on May 30, 2023, 05:42:39 pm ---I agree and wouldn't hesitate for $350.  I also have two PXIe-1073 chassis (see attachment) which are even smaller and would be well-suited to hosting this VST.  They connect via single-lane MXI adapters to a PC also.  For a virtual instrument, single-lane is fine.

--- End quote ---

Yep, that'd be a good setup. What's that module in your chassis? I can't see the model number.

I did a quick search to see how much the 1073s are going used, and ohh eBay... I don't think this was ever released publicly either:


How cool is that 2 in 1!

jhenderson0107:

--- Quote from: Marsupilami on May 31, 2023, 01:00:17 am ---...What's that module in your chassis? I can't see the model number...
--- End quote ---

That module is the PXI-4461 which is a 24-bit audio interface.  It's useful for accelerometer and audio testing. 

Regarding that 1078D chassis:  I have seen that before, but never in the wild.  Given its cost premium, I'd prefer to inject a decent 10 MHz reference clock onto the backplane via a PXI timing card. 

One cool thing about these NI chassis is that some slots support both PXI and PXIe connections ('H' -designated hybrid slots), so either type of 3U card can be used.  For example, the PXI-4461 is a legacy PXI card (not PCI Express).  It was cheaper and more than sufficient for audio transfer speeds. 

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